The OZY Genius Awards (OGAs), sponsored by Chevrolet, offers 10 college students the grand opportunity of up to $10,000, along with the time and mentorship to turn their genius ideas into reality. This year's genius winners have just been chosen by a judges' panel featuring Padma Lakshmi, Katty Kay, Jalen Rose, Marc Lasry, Carmen Yulín Cruz and Dr. Monique Umphrey.
Previous OGA winners have gone on to world acclaim, including Amanda Gorman, who spoke at the 2021 presidential inauguration and is the current poet laureate, and Rohan Pavuluri, whose free bankruptcy app Upsolve was named one of Time magazine's best inventions of 2020.
- OZY Media 2021
I, Dyllen Nellis, am incredibly honored to be awarded the OZY Genius Award for 2021! If you are interested in learning about my big idea, the following is an excerpt from my project proposal:
Every year, thousands of high achieving students miss the opportunity to attain higher education due to economic and systemic barriers. Many first-generation and low-income students cannot afford college consulting, and consequently lack the strategy to convey their full potential to colleges. My mission is to empower students across the economic spectrum to discover their sense of self and effectively communicate their personal values through well-crafted college essays.
After two years of researching strategy and editing over 750 college essays through my consulting business, I have developed a comprehensive online college essay course to guide students from brainstorm to final draft. “The Ultimate Guide to Craft Your Story” includes 13 chapters of both written and video content hosted on Teachable, as well as a digital workbook on Google Slides with exercises for students to map out their ideas. (CollegeEssayAdvice.com)
Compared to other asynchronous courses that cost $100-$300, my course is more affordable at a fraction of the price, but its value is just as high. However, I understand that for many families, this is still not feasible. With the OZY Genius Award this summer, I plan to expand my impact by providing my course to 10,000 students across 400 Title 1 high schools in the United States, free of charge. Title 1 is a federal aid program for schools with a high percentage of students from low-income families. The $10,000 would cover the cost of managing and distributing scholarship certificates to the college counselors of each high school. In addition to the 25 free courses per school, I intend to offer a 50% discount for additional students.
Ultimately, I aspire to create a sustainable system to impact thousands of students each year. With the 10,000 course initiative, I plan to establish a referral program to exponentially increase my reach. Furthermore, my desire to partner with other educational organizations would come to fruition with OZY’s guidance.
My goal is to bridge the information gap and help high-achieving, underprivileged students earn acceptance to their dream schools. The OZY Genius Award would serve as a huge stepping stone toward this goal, by supporting my growing business and opening doors of opportunity for the next generation of changemakers.
OZY is a next-generation media and entertainment company that aims to help curious people see the world more broadly and more boldly by introducing them to "the New and the Next" — narratives that defy convention, change perspectives and ignite ideas. Beginning as a digital magazine in 2013, OZY has evolved into a modern media company, featuring award-winning podcasts, 100,000-person festivals and Emmy-winning TV series with leading networks, including A+E, HISTORY, Lifetime, Amazon, Hulu, OWN, PBS and BBC. Led by journalist and TV host Carlos Watson and co-founder Samir Rao, OZY is based in Mountain View, California, and backed by leading Silicon Valley investors such as Emerson Collective, Marc Lasry and Tom Franco. Learn more at OZY.com. Follow OZY on Twitter at twitter.com/ozy, Facebook at facebook.com/ozy and Instagram at instagram.com/ozy.